Tuesday, March 29, 2005


Feminism and controversy surged throughout campus on March 10. Black and white flyers depicted a drawing of a woman grasping onto a hammer with "FEMINISM" on the handle. In the middle of the female symbol fists were clenched and space above the woman read: "If I had a hammer...I'd SMASH Patriarchy." A bubble by her face said, "I FOUND IT!"

UNH students found it, too.

Approximately 40 people attended the Patriarchy Slam organized by the Feminist Action League (FAL). A handful of others watched timidly outside the MUB entertainment center door, fleeing as soon as a glance from inside penetrated their direction.

The event, featuring poetry readings, skits, monologues and an open microphone, was designed to give women a space to share their experiences of oppression in a comfortable setting, Megan Smith, a member of the FAL, said.

"[The event was designed to] encourage women to confront the perpetrators who are men," Smith said. "Ninety-nine percent of sexual perpetrators are men. They are the root cause of the rape and oppression against women."

The FAL's hatred of the patriarchy, a male-ruled society, was decoratively affirmed with 10 hanging balloons, each displaying a letter of the word "patriarchy." Each was dramatically popped throughout the event, symbolizing the eradication of the patriarchy. "This is a place where women can feel empowered," Smith said. "There aren't many places in the world where women can speak out against those who have oppressed us, beat us and raped us." The name of the event mimics the aggression that men exert, Smith said. "'Slam' is an aggressive word, but slamming is the classic way men respond," she said. "They feel threatened and shape it as hate. It's an aggressive word, but it shouldn't get in the way of our message."

Their provocative and controversial message reflected the notorious and often criticized views of TNH columnist and FAL member Whitney Williams. Both audience members and some members of the FAL wished to remain anonymous for security reasons. This past September's death threat to Williams has forced the group and its supporters to take safety precautions, such as remaining unidentified

More here


People's increasing insistence on "standing up for their rights" seems to be undermining public support for the very idea of rights, a YouGov survey for The Daily Telegraph suggests.

Michael Howard appears to have struck a chord when he maintained that the rights of gipsies should not be allowed to override the legitimate interests of landowners and householders. The poll's findings reveal widespread support for repealing the Human Rights Act and even wider support for tackling illegal traveller encampments.

Without mentioning the Tories, YouGov reminded respondents that the 1998 Human Rights Act "incorporates the European convention on human rights into British domestic law" and that some argue that the workings of the Act are proving damaging. Should it be repealed? Nearly half of those asked, 46 per cent, accept the view that "the Act is turning out to do more harm than good and should be repealed", while only 25 per cent say "the Act is valuable in protecting human rights and should be retained".

The large proportion of "Don't knows" attests to a relative ignorance of the Act but also to many people torn between a belief in rights and a belief that rights should not be abused. A substantial majority, 65 per cent, backs the idea that camping on other people's land without permission should be a criminal offence. Support comes from across the political spectrum.

YouGov elicited the opinions of 1,903 adults across the country online between March 21 and 24.


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